UK charities are in trouble. Donations are down 20% and government funding is down 60%. The Pilion Trust is tiny. The cuts meant their shelter for homeless kids was about to close. They needed £50,000. Publicis London created a provocative campaign designed to capture headlines and seize attention through a highly shareable online film. A typical street fundraiser is seen promoting a simple but powerful message: fuck the poor. Naturally, passersby are appalled by the notion and make their opinions incredibly clear. Yet, when the street fundraiser's signage displayed a more philanthropic message, he struggled to command any attention at all. The social experiment showed people that charities can't survive on good intentions alone; they need donations. Within seven days of its release, over three million people had watched the film. Copycat campaigns, global online news coverage and messages of support from around the world saw donations increase by over 1,600%. With just a cardboard sign and a £500 budget, Publicis' campaign brought in £163,734 in donations, more than tripling their target.
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